Tory politician ejected from conference for heckling Suella Braverman’s speech

A senior elected Tory was ejected from the Conservative conference for heckling Suella Braverman as she railed against the “poison” of “gender ideology”.

London Assembly member Andrew Boff told reporters the Home Secretary had been “vilifying” gay people in her speech as he was removed from the Manchester convention centre on Tuesday.

Before being approached by officials and police, Mr Boff had said from his conference seat: “There’s no such thing as gender ideology.”

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Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Braverman later said the heckles were “silly” but said the politician should be “forgiven and let back into conference”, though Mr Boff said he had been stripped of his pass.

In her set-piece speech, the Home Secretary had criticised “gender ideology, white privilege” and anti-British history, adding: “The evidence demonstrates that if you don’t challenge this poison, things just get worse.”

Some had questioned whether removing Mr Boff, a socially liberal member of the capital’s assembly since 2008, over his heckle was heavy-handed.

Speaking to the PA news agency from outside the conference centre, he criticised Ms Braverman’s “ridiculous” language.

“This Home Secretary was basically vilifying gay people and trans people by this attack on LGBT ideology, or gender ideology. It is fictitious, it is ridiculous,” he said.

“It is a signal to people who don’t like people who are LGBT+ people.

“Words like that in the forum of the party that I love need to be challenged.”

Asked if he had planned the protest in advance, he said he attended the speech to “hear from her own mouth what her views were”.

As he was removed, he complained about the “trash” Ms Braverman had spoken in her address.

“It is making our Conservative Party look transphobic and homophobic,” he told reporters.

Mr Boff earlier expressed anger over Tory MP Miriam Cates suggesting that the “ideal” is for children to be raised by a mother and father, rather than by same-sex or single parents.

Ms Cates, the co-chair of the New Conservatives group, told a fringe event at the conference it is best for children to be brought up by “mum and dad, in a stable permanent relationship”.

A patron of the LGBT+ Conservatives group, Mr Boff told PA: “Children should be loved in a stable environment. The more love from more family members the better.

“LGBT+ Conservatives would be happy to meet with her to broaden her knowledge.”

Ms Cates had acknowledged that families come in “all shapes and sizes”, the “vast majority” she said do their “absolute best in very difficult circumstances”.

“But if we’re going to be truthful, and there’s not enough truth telling in politics, then we have to acknowledge that the evidence is clear that there is an ideal when it comes to the family,” she added.

“And that ideal is mum and dad, in a stable permanent relationship, raising children as part of an extended family and a neighbourhood to pass on virtues, heritage and prosperity.”

Asked after the speech for the Legatum Institute think tank if there is evidence to suggest mothers and fathers are better for children than single-sex parents, Ms Cates said “absolutely”.

“Let’s think about the biology here, obviously everyone has a mother and a father, the idea that it’s a good idea to be taken away from either … it’s not,” she told PA.

Scott Cuthbertson, director of the Rainbow Project, criticised the “dangerous dogma” and accused her of “the vilification of same-sex families”.

Stonewall added: “What any child needs is safety, love and care and that can be provided by a parent or a guardian of any gender and sexual orientation.”